New York, May 12: Pet dogs provide more social support as compared to parents when a child is suffering from stress, study suggests.
“Middle childhood is a time when children’s social support figures are expanding beyond their parents, but their emotional and biological capacities to deal with stress are still maturing,” said Darlene Kertes, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, in the US.
Children who engaged actively with their dogs had lower levels of cortisol, body stress as compared to those who engaged less, Kertes said.
An experiment was conducted on 100 pet-owning families with children between the ages of 7 to 12 years.
Another study, published in the journal Animals, showed that a family dog could help boost physical activity for kids with disabilities.
Researchers found that the family dog can led to improvements such as motor skills, quality of life and emotional, social and physical health.
“These initial findings indicate that we can improve the quality of life for children with disabilities, and we can get them to be more active,” said Megan MacDonald, Assistant Professor at Oregon State University.
“It was so cool to see the relationship between the child and the dog evolve over time. They develop a partnership and the activities become more fun and challenging for the child,” MacDonald added.